Palm Springs celebrates their 26th annual Pride Weekend

LGBT supporters gathered to celebrate the annual four day weekend

Drag queens work the crowd in the Pride Parade (Candice Cabacungan/Student Contributor)

 

Newly elected Dr. Raul Ruiz greets parade spectators (Candice Cabacungan/Student Contributor)
Festival goers participate in a booty shaking contest onstage at the Pride Festival (Breanna Harry/The Chaparral)

 

Andy Bell performs on the main stage at the Pride Festival on Sunday afternoon (Breanna Harry/The Chaparral)

by Breanna Harry
Staff Reporter

November started off with a bang last weekend in Palm Springs when the city held their 26th annual Pride Weekend. An estimated 20,000 people attended the four day pride celebration which featured the annual Palm Springs AIDS Walk, as well as various parties and festivals that took place throughout the city.

One of the main events of the weekend was the Pride Festival held at the Palm Springs Stadium located next to Palm Springs High School. The two-day event featured a variety of musical performances, dance stages, country line dancing, and other various activity tents. The musical acts included in the festival were electronic music duo The Crystal Method, lead singer of the acclaimed English “synthpop” band Erasure Andy Bell, the indietronica band based out of San Francisco, The Limousines, American Idol Kimberly Caldwell, and many more.

One of the biggest performances of the festival came from Andy Bell. As a fan favorite in the LGBT community, it came as no surprise that hundreds of people flocked to the main stage to see the show. Bell is openly gay and has been living with HIV since the late 1990’s. People in the crowd gave him a big prideful welcome, and he responded back by saying “I love you too!”

The big stand out event of the weekend by far was the Pride Parade held in Downtown Palm Springs. Early Sunday morning LGBT supporters battled the heat and lined up and down Palm Canyon Drive to watch the parade. The parade was very colorful and featured many LGBT supporters from all over the country. Andrew Rannells, Broadway star turned television actor, made a special appearance with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Rannells tweeted later that day “I had such a great time in Palm Springs! Thank you HRC for including me in this weekend’s events! Happy Gay Pride, Palm Springs!”

This was also the first year that the Palm Springs AIDS Walk was actually a part of the parade celebration. The Desert AIDS Project decided to incorporate a portion of the three mile walk in the parade to celebrate the walks 25th anniversary. Before the walk got underway, Assemblyman Manuel Pérez told the Desert Sun, “We’ve come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. We’re still going to have to fight the good fight until all are cured.”

With the election just days away, there was no way political issues would stay out of this weekends festivities. That was made clear when a man walked through the parade crowd carrying a bright red sign that said “Impeach Obama”. The crowd, upon seeing the sign, started to boo the man as he walked along the sidewalk through the crowd. About thirty minutes later he appeared on the opposite side of the street still carrying his sign trying to get a rise out of the crowd, but was unsuccessful.

Congressman hopeful Dr. Raul Ruiz also walked in the parade with a big group of his supporters. He ran from one side of the street to another and greeted parade spectators by taking the time to shake their hands. His appearance caused a booming uproar in the crowd.

Palm Springs Pride has always been a big event for the city, and this year was no exception. “It was a great experience.” said first time pride goer, and Palm Springs resident Lauren Harry . “I loved the atmosphere of the crowd! It was fun, entertaining, and you could feel free to be your true self without feeling judged.”

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